How would you like a roadmap to health, restoration and freedom? This month I want to share with you some fundamental steps to living free. When we attended Pastor Henry Wright’s “For Your Life” conference in Thomaston, Georgia we were launched into a new adventure with God. One of the basic teachings we received there was called the 8 R’s – eight steps to freedom. It’s a simple way to remember some of the most critical concepts for walking in freedom with God.
The first R is to RECOGNIZE. You can’t make much progress until you recognize the stuff in your life that is holding you back. Isaiah 5:13 tells us, “Therefore my people go into exile because they lack knowledge.” You are walking in exile and captivity until you take a good, hard look at your thoughts and your actions and recognize the evil that has crept into your life. You need to recognize the sin/junk in your life (the stuff keeping you stuck, like unforgiveness, anger, addictions, fear, etc) before you can take the next step.
The second R is to take RESPONSIBILITY for the evil in your life. Oswald Chambers says, “It all begins in the secret place of the will.” God gave you free will, the ability to make choices in your life. No one else has a right to control your free will – not the enemy, not God, not others. The choices you make are your responsibility and you need to take that responsibility and own it. The enemy can make suggestions for your life and tell you lies, but you are responsible if you listen and agree.
The third R is to REPENT for the sin in your life. We often equate repentance with feeling sorrow or regret, and even though we should feel sorrowful for our sin, repentance doesn’t end there. Repentance means turning away from the evil in your life – walking in the other direction. The Amplified translation of Acts 3:19 describes repentance like this, “So repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins] and return [to God—seek His purpose for your life], so that your sins may be wiped away [blotted out, completely erased].”
The fourth R is to RENOUNCE your sin. The Christian definition of renounce is characterized by the following: to disown; to reject; to disclaim; to refuse to own or acknowledge; to deny; to cast off; to forsake. Do you get the picture here? Renouncing is consciously removing all ties to that old way of thinking and acting. It’s a decision, a choice, to walk away from that life. Ephesians 4:22-24 describes this beautifully.
22 Regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self, which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, 23 and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, created in God’s image, in the righteousness and holiness of the truth.
The fifth R is to REMOVE sin from your life. In our ministry, we follow the example that Christ provides for us time after time in the New Testament. Jesus cast out demons and spirits. He gave us the power and authority to do the same. Paul follows the example of Jesus in Acts 16:18 when he says, “I command you in the name of Jesus to come out of her!” Paul tells us in Romans 7:20 ”But if I am doing the very thing I do not want to do, I am no longer the one doing it [that is, it is not me that acts], but the sin [nature] which lives in me.” You must cast out the sin which lives within you.
The sixth R is to RESIST. The stuff that you have dealt with will try to come back. Don’t let that sin back into your life. Temptation will come knocking at your door and it is your responsibility to resist it. James 4:7 gives this advice to us, “So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.” When you have a personal relationship with God and you submit to His authority, He will give you the strength and resolve to stand firmly against the enemy.
The seventh R is to REJOICE in your freedom. Give God glory for you freedom! Give God thanks for His grace and mercy. Thank Jesus for the freedom He bought you on the cross. Psalm 92:4 says it so well, “For You, O Lord, have made me glad by Your works;
At the works of Your hands I joyfully sing.” Give God all the praise and worship for the work He had done in your life.
The eight R is to RESTORE others. Take your testimony out into the world. Take what you have learned and share it with those around you. You can have a powerful influence on your family, your friends and your church by the changes they see in you and the testimony of your actions and words. When Michael and I returned from the conference in Thomaston, Georgia, we couldn’t keep our mouths shut. We just had to share the miracles our family had experienced with the world. It’s not a coincidence that we named our ministry Restoring Lives International.
These 8 R’s are a powerful tool to put into your spiritual tool belt. And like any tool, the more you use it the more expert you will become!